England players past and present expressed shock and offered support after batsman Jonathan Trott withdrew from the Ashes tour of Australia yesterday due to a “stress-related illness”. The surprise departure, which echoes a situation involving Marcus Trescothick in 2006-2007, comes after Trott made disappointing scores of 10 and nine in England’s 381-run first-Test defeat in Brisbane.
Trott’s display was blasted as “poor and weak” by Australia batsman David Warner, in comments that drew censure from England captain Alastair Cook and head coach Andy Flower. England all-rounder Stuart Broad pledged support for Trott on Twitter, writing: “Love Trotty. Absolute champion of a man. He knows he has all the support of all the people around him. Puts cricket in perspective.”
Former England captain Nasser Hussain said the news had come as “a real shock”, while another former skipper, Michael Vaughan, expressed regret for questioning Trott’s performances in the media. “I do feel guilty for criticising Trott this week... I wasn’t to know what he was going through and I can only comment on what I see,” Vaughan wrote on Twitter.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said Trott, 32, would take an indefinite break from cricket and would not be returning to the five-Test tour. “Jonathan Trott has returned from England’s current tour of Australia with a stress-related illness,” an ECB tweet said. Trott has been a stalwart of the England team, accumulating 3,763 runs at an average of 46.45 in his 49 Tests.
In brief comments released by the ECB, Trott did not give any details but said he could not play on in his current condition. “I don’t feel it’s right that I’m playing, knowing that I’m not 100 per cent. I cannot currently operate at the level I have done in the past,” he said. “My priority now is to take a break from cricket so that I can focus on my recovery.”
Former England opener Trescothick, who left the 2006-2007 Ashes tour and was finally forced to quit international cricket because of depression, called it “sad news”. “To come out and talk about these things for the first time is tough. I’m sure he’s not feeling great at all, but he’s definitely made the right decision,” Trescothick told BBC radio.
He’ll be back: Freddie
Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff tweeted: “Trotty will be back. Over the hardest hurdle in his recovery by facing it head on, which is something we are not all able to do.”
Prior to the news of Trott’s departure, Warner admitted that he “probably went a little bit too far” with his comments, which were described as “disrespectful” by England skipper Cook. “I made those comments for a reason,” Warner told reporters at Brisbane airport. England coach Flower criticised Warner for his remarks, but revealed that Trott had been suffering from the condition for some time.